Peace Page

Welcome to the Servas Britain peace page!

Servas is unique among travel networks because it is rooted in a tradition of peace activities. It grew out of a ‘peace-builders’ movement after the Second World War, whose members wanted to work for peace, to make contact with other peace movements, and to create a work-study-travel programme so that young people could ‘learn the ways of peace’. This tradition continues today, and you will find that members of Servas are involved in a wide range of activities that can be described as ‘peace-building’.

Carol Allen, Servas Britain’s new Peace Secretary, writes:

On Sunday 15th May 2016, I attended a Conscientious Objectors gathering at the Conscientious Objectors’ Stone, Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1.
There was a music, poetry and spoken word remembrance ceremony for past Conscientious Objectors (COs), who stood by their convictions, despite the consequences,  and those who are currently COs.  Then, after a minute’s silence, long-stemmed white carnations were laid on the COs’ stone to represent those who had passed away, each flower linked to a particular person from one of about 40 countries around the world (mine was Severe Road of Norway).  It was very moving as the granddaughter of one services officer and the niece of another recalled the CO’s life, circumstances and personality, one of them being among the Richmond 16 COs who were court-martialled on 11.06.19. Various peace groups had erected stalls or flags and I gave out my Servas business cards.  Some people knew about Servas, some didn’t – so I informed them! Organisations represented included the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, CND, Peace International and At Ease (a new voluntary organisation providing advice and information to services personnel, their families and friends). Bruce Kent was among those who had assembled for this superb event and opportunity for my first Servas Britain Peace Secretary role.

My current reading is ‘Creating True Peace’ by Thich Nhat Hanh (nominated by Martin Luther King for a Nobel Prize). The Dalai Lama says Thich Nhat Hanh shows the connection between personal inner peace and peace on earth.

In peace,

Carol Allen, Servas Britain Peace Secretary

Anyone in Servas Britain can contribute to this peace page, with news of events and happenings. This goes for any Servas travellers who visit this page too! There is a wealth of experience and service amongst our members, which we need to share and build on. Please add your thoughts and suggestions to the page. Contact Jenny Sturt, the website editor (host 162) or Carol Allen (host 32), the Servas Britain Peace Secretary.

Many hosts in Servas Britain are involved in activities concerned with refugees, and help to publicise the problems faced by refugees during Refugee Week. The ‘Simple Acts’ Campaign, launched in 2009, continues – it can include anything from finding out information about a refugee community to cooking a meal from a country from which refugees come. You can get more information from the Refugee Council. Women to Women for Peace‘ is a network of women whose work is about bridge-building between people from countries which have contrasting, and often conflicting, political, philosophical, cultural and religious approaches.
We develop and maintain friendships across cultural divides, creating opportunities for communication and educational exchanges. We believe that by building friendships between women, we learn to understand one another and value our differences. We arrange reciprocal visits between people from the United Kingdom and around the world.
See the Women to Women for Peace website
Jeffrey Gale (host 114) is involved in the World Peace Gardens network. He says: “Would any Servas Member like to designate a garden or potential garden as a World Peace Garden with our special logo? Any garden is eligible for designation, but we’re particularly interested in school or college gardens or public parks. The idea of the network is to combine permacultural design principles of perennial biodiverse horticulture, orchards and woodlands with peace activism.”
To find out more and to see the logo, go to the World Peace Gardens website.
Many Servas members are also members of the human rights organisation Amnesty International, and will know of the excellent events, including exhibitions, films and lectures, which take place regularly at the Human Rights Action Centre in London and at other venues. Many of these events are free and open to non-members. See the Amnesty website events page for more information.
What do you do for peace in Servas? Let us know and we’ll publish it on this page…